Engr. (Dr.) Mohammed Kialani doubles as the director-general of the Tinubu/Shettima Network and acting director-general of the Amalgamated Support Groups for the Tinubu/Shettima presidential ticket, which is the coordinating arm of the whole Tinubu/Shettima campaign groups in the country. In this interview with CHAMBA SIMEH, he speaks on the chances of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in next Saturday’s election.
You are welcome to this very important interactive interview. Your hands must be presently full because of the dual responsibilities you have.
Kailani: Yes. I can say with every sense of responsibility that we are prepared to leave no stone unturned to ensure that Bola Tinubu, who is the most qualified presidential candidate, wins next Saturday’s election. All indices and permutations favour our principal, Bola Tinubu, and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, to win by a landslide never seen before in the presidential election in Nigeria.
You seem confident that your principal is already on his way to victory. What are those permutations that inspire such confidence?
With the audacity of the political realism on ground and the leadership credential, vision and antecedents of Tinubu, I am confident of victory because it stares us in the face. I expect the opposition to accept defeat and congratulate him because even before the contest the punches they are presently receiving are too much for them to bear. Two days ago in Ondo state, the Labour Party structure decamped to the APC surrendering to the APC candidacy of Tinubu. And today 20 out of the political parties in Lagos collapsed their structures and membership strength to the APC just because of Tinubu and counting. This really is a punch to the social media hyped Peter Obi political hope that you know is structure-less and cannot be taken seriously.
You were recently appointed as the acting director general of APC Amalgamated Support Groups. We congratulate you for this feat but we heard you were appointed as a measure to nip in the bud an alleged disagreement by some leaders of the group, how true is that rumour?
It is natural in any human organisation to find issues that need solving but the most important thing is finding a middle ground of resolving the problem. The APC Amalgamated Support Groups is the aggregation of all the support groups campaigning for the victory of Tinubu. These groups are the best you can find for any presidential candidate anywhere in the world. The APC Amalgamated Support Groups was deliberately formed to assist in the coordination and easy management of the groups. We have issues but thank God we are able to find the needed quick fix solution with the acceptance by the factions to have me as the DG and I think after the hurricane, calmness has finally returned and we are marching to victory.
As someone leading the campaigns from your own perspective, what are Tinubu’s chances?
Tinubu is a man of great vision. They say history is replete with examples so it is with my principal who has for long been the poster boy of progressive politics. So, when talking about the man Bola Tinubu I enjoin all of us to look at his sterling political antecedents. When he was the governor of Lagos state, he set up a think tank which formulated a 50-year master plan for the development of the state. He has since then become the chief visioner of Lagos state. No wonder, Lagos is still under the leadership of his disciples till today long after his eight-year tenure as governor. The reason is simple; people like to follow a leader who knows the way. I can tell you that with Shettima as his running mate, it is obvious that this election is already won and lost.
Why do you say that his picking of Shettima gives you the confidence that the election has been won and lost?
This is a remark I would like you to take to the bank. I repeat that the
the vision of Tinubu in recruiting political materials has given him an edge over others in the race. Forget the gimmicks and ranting of the political opponents postulating that Shettima was picked to achieve a hidden agenda. This comment by his political opponents is nothing, but propaganda to score cheap political points and I want to assure them that Nigerians are wiser now. A man who cannot force his family to convert to a certain religion cannot force anybody to abandon his religion and convert to a certain religion. I would tell you and mark my words that Shettima would deliver the North-east while Buhari and his governor’s in the Northwest will deliver the zone to the APC and we know that the South-west is traditionally for Tinubu. If those three geopolitical zones go the way of Tinubu/Shettima, all the other political parties put together would be contesting for the second and third positions.
Are you saying that the Muslim/Muslim ticket would not be an obstacle to your principal?
Yes, that really would be an issue but only for the pessimists who are already informed optimists. The Christian from the South-south, and especially from the South-east regions, are being educated by our men on ground that the selection of Alhaji Shettima as Tinubu’s running mate was not in any way religious in nature but a political strategy borne out of the political calculations towards the total victory of the APC in the presidential poll. I say this because political expediency of the time advises that you must consider the opinions of your supporters, those who normally would give the votes to you.
The South-west doesn’t care as much when it comes to religion because it has a reputation as the most religious tolerant zone in Nigeria. Thus, they would surely remain with the APC and the Bola Tinubu/Shettima ticket no matter what. The other two zones that will vote for the Tinubu/Shettima ticket are the North who are excited by that choice.
What are you doing to allay the fear that Tinubu would likely be anti-Christian?
That is politics being practised from the pit of hell. I have said it severally that I personally don’t believe that Tinubu who is married to a Christian pastor for over 40 years will suddenly become anti-Christian. If that is the case we would have seen the signs in Lagos. We need not fear the Muslim/Muslim ticket, not under Bola Tinubu. A man who could not Islamise his family cannot Islamise Nigeria at this point and I can say confidently that Nigeria beholds your next president, Bola Tinubu.
At this point tell us about Bola Tinubu as a leader?
Tinubu is a real raise of men and a dealer in hope. He always looks for talents that are better than him. He is never afraid to bring on board people with higher wisdom because the most important thing is to get the job done for the good of all. He is a leader that doesn’t wait till it is the zero hour to get the person to do the job or the next job to be done. From the first hour he finds them because time waits for no one. The obstacles on his way he predicts them before those that will bring them will start to think about them. He plans for betrayal, he plans for back stabbing and plans also for re-union and forgiveness long before they happen. In life he expects nothing, he expects anything, and he expects everything.
You said one of his rare leadership qualities includes raising men. Who are some of the men you think he helped raise?
There is a long retinue of leaders he has raised. These people gladly call him their godfather. We all know the evil of godfatherism in Nigerian politics, but Tinubu is one of the very few godfathers who represent the positive reflection of that word. His type godfatherism is not to hold you down, but to raise you up. This is the true meaning of mentorship without which no human endeavour is successful.
Many blame him for it, but show me a better example of a godfather in Nigeria than him. Tinubu is our best foot forward at this time in our political trajectory to lead us forward. His top ranking men include Professor Yemi Osinbajo, now the vice-president of the nation, who was his attorney-general and commissioner for justice for eight years; Rauf Aregbesola, the immediate past governor of Osun state and now the minister of interior, who was his commissioner for works; Babatunde Fashola, his chief of staff who is now the minister of works and housing inf the Buhari administration, etc. They are all talents recruited and given as Tinubu’s gift to our country. They say judge the tree by its fruits.
Let us talk about the economy. Tell us about his economic management skills?
We must begin by applauding a man who survived as the governor of Lagos state without the normal monthly allocations from the federation accounts. That type of man must be a special gem of a leader in this part of the world. We know that even with the monthly allocation from Abuja many states fail to cope with their responsibilities as some of them cannot even pay salaries talk less of embarking on any capital project. Obasanjo in his normal majestic jurisprudence withheld the Lagos state allocation for a sinister purpose. But Tinubu strived due to his incredible ingenuity in financial management. Listen now, he not only survived but went ahead to do things that we have not heard done or seen before in our country. He raised the internally generated revenue of Lagos state from N600million monthly to about N51 billion. It is said if Lagos was a country it would be number five by GDP as of 2016, thanks to its $146 billion economy. It is instructive that as of 2016 the Lagos economy was already bigger than that of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, Togo and Benin, etc.
Truly, Nigeria needs a leader in the person of Bola Tinubu like never before. This is the type of leadership many of us will like to see manage the affairs of this country. Though the haters are on social media trying to tarnish his image by saying all type of nonsense but as we all know jealousy is hatred without cure. We are not surprised because it is only the tree that bears good fruits that people throw stone at. Tinubu’s presidency is an idea whose time has come.